January 25, 2013

Metro Dalton’s unemployment rate rises to 11.3 percent in December

From Georgia Department of Labor

— The Georgia Department of Labor said Thursday that the preliminary unemployment rate in metro Dalton (Whitfield and Murray counties) rose to 11.3 percent in December, up from 11 percent in November. The rate was 12.3 percent in December 2011.

The rate rose because of a combination of factors — a slight increase in initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits and an increase in the labor force, as more people began searching for work.

There were 126 more new claims for unemployment benefits in construction, wholesale trade, administrative and support services, and accommodations and food services. While the initial claims were up from November to December, they were down by 1,552, or 46.7 percent, from 3,323 in December 2011. The decline in claims led to an over-the-year drop in the area’s jobless rate.

The labor force — those employed or actively searching for a job — increased by 343, rising from 58,200 to 58,543 in December. The new jobseekers are counted as unemployed until they get work.

Metro Athens had the lowest area jobless rate in the state at 6.6 percent, while the Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region had the highest at 11.4 percent.

Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 8.6 percent in December, up from 8.5 percent in November. The rate was 9.4 percent in December a year ago.

Local area unemployment data are not seasonally adjusted. Georgia labor market data are available at www.dol.state.ga.us.